May 15, 2020
Contact: Carolina Bortolleto

Bridgeport Sanctuary City Signed Into Law After Years of Fighting

Bridgeport Immigrants’ dreams for a better, safer, and more welcoming Bridgeport have become official law - “today I have renewed hope for a better future”

Bridgeport, CT-- Today, Bridgeport Mayor Gamin officially signed into law the “Protection for Bridgeport Families and Immigrants” City Ordinance, which was passed by the Bridgeport City Council in a landmark vote on April 20th (PHOTOS of members celebrating passage)

The Ordinance was developed by and for the CIty’s immigrant community and marks a true victory for Bridgeport’s immigrants, as it meets all the group’s demands. First, the City Ordinance requires that all Bridgeport police must comply with the TRUST Act and that the Bridgeport Police train all its members on the TRUST Act. Second, it requires the city to take steps to ensure non discrimination and inclusion in City services by stating that city officials or employees can’t request or require the citizenship or immigration status of a person unless it is required by state or federal law, by stating that Bridgeport Police must take all reasonable steps to help victims of certains crimes pursue u-visas, and by stating that the City of Bridgeport is required to make reasonable efforts to provide city services and documents in the languages spoken by at least 5% of the population.

Sonia Hernandez, Make the Road CT Fight Back Organizer, Bridgeport Resident: “Today, we celebrate a victory.  For years, Make The Road members have been talking with community members to understand their fears and needs, meeting with city officials, and mobilizing our community. Today, our hopes and dreams for a better, safer, and more welcoming Bridgeport have become law. With this Ordinance becoming city law, the City of Bridgeport is standing up against hate and sending a message that all are welcome here. While federally, attacks against immigrants are increasing, and we are seeing more policing and enforcement of the immigrant community, I’m proud to live in Bridgeport. The Coronavirus pandemic has been especially hard for the immigrant community, we have been cruelly left behind by most federal and state relief efforts. But what our victory shows me today is that we are resilient and we are powerful. We will keep fighting, and today I have renewed hope for a better future.”

Nelly Mendoza, Fight Back Committee Member, Bridgeport Resident,  “I joined Make The Road’s Fight Back Committee to learn my rights as an immigrant and to protect myself and my family. But I ended up learning so much more, I learned how to fight for my community and I learned that I and other immigrants like me do have a voice and do have power to make change. I am proud of the victory we have been able to achieve. But this is only the beginning. We look forward to continuing to work with the City of Bridgeport and City Hall to ensure that this new ordinance is properly and consistently implemented. We will hold the city accountable.  As a mother of 4 children, I have seen how my family has been very traumatized by what they see in the community. They see our immigrant community being arrested in the street and taken to ICE, and families destroyed and separated by ICE. We do not feel safe. That is why passing this ordinance finally becoming law is so meaningful to me and my family. Although there is much work still to be done,  we can finally start to feel safe in the city that we call home.”

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Make the Road Connecticut works to support immigrants to be active in their communities and to lift themselves out of poverty through legal and support services, civic engagement, transformative education and policy innovation.

www.maketheroadct.org

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